Yellowstone’s Best Episode From Each Season: Hard-Hitting, Death-Defying And Utterly Heart-Crushing


From the start, Yellowstone has been the TV-viewing equivalent of riding a bucking bronco: thrilling, terrifying and altogether unpredictable. Taylor Sheridan’s Paramount Network hit, which returns for the back half of its fifth and final season in November, has served up everything from a raging bull in a bar to a buffalo-related car crash, from a bear attack to enough smackdowns to leave our screens black-and-blue.

And no. No way. Don’t even think about asking us to count how many withering zingers the series’ co-creator has written for Kelly Reilly’s human tornado, Beth Dutton; we couldn’t do it if we tried.

Today, TVLine looks back at the drama’s entire run to single out the most resonant episode from each season, whether because of the action that it packed or the depth of feeling with which it saddled us. To see which entries made the cut, just keep scrolling. Then, by all means, hit the comments to let loose with the alternative installments that you would have chosen instead.

“Daybreak” (Season 1, Episode 1)

Right from the start, Yellowstone let us know that it was a go-for-broke kinda drama. We were just getting introduced to the Duttons when all hell broke loose, and a shootout over stolen cattle resulted in John’s elder son Lee being killed by Monica’s brother Robert and Robert being killed by Monica’s husband Kayce. So, uh, yeah. Monica was gonna have a lot to deal with, and John, the mess of a lifetime to clean up.

“Resurrection Day” (Season 2, Episode 7)

Especially harrowing, even by Yellowstone’s standards, this gut punch of an episode found Jamie not just contemplating suicide in the wake of Sarah’s murder but ready to act on that impulse, rifle in hand. As or more disturbing, the Beck brothers sent henchmen to Beth’s office, where they murdered her assistant in cold blood and brutalized her in ways that left us, if not her, traumatized for seasons to come. (Watch Rip ride to the rescue above.)


“The World Is Purple” (Season 3, Episode 10)

If anyone were ever to ask you just how bats—t crazy Yellowstone can get, your answer would almost certainly be Season 3’s insane finale. With Market Equities targeting the ranch and Jamie’s biodad just dying to dance on John’s grave, the episode concluded with the Dutton family’s patriarch being gunned down at roadside, Kayce being used for target practice in the Livestock Commissioner’s office and Beth being blown to kingdom come. Hell, there was so much going on, we never did find out what happened to poor Lug-Nut Boy. (Watch the s—t go down above.)

“Grass On the Streets and Weeds On the Rooftops” (Season 4, Episode 10)

All this installment needed to make it Season 4’s standout was the sequence in which Beth kidnapped a preacher to marry her and Rip in an impromptu backyard wedding ceremony. But the hour went a step beyond to leave jaws on the floor. Upon learning that Jamie’s biological father was responsible for John’s shooting, the bride strong-armed him into committing patricide and, arguably worse, leaving himself at her mercy. (Watch the “I dos” above.)

“Horses in Heaven” (Season 5, Episode 4)

Near the midway point of the series’ final season came this heart-shredding hour in which not only did Beth learn that Jamie, who’d taken away her ability to carry a child, had one of his own, but Monica and Kayce buried the baby whose arrival they and Tate had been so eagerly anticipating. The bittersweet highlight? John comforting Monica with the story of his ill-fated little brother who, in his father’s estimation, had lived a perfect life since all he’d known in the brief time that he’d drawn breath was his mother’s love.